We'd debated whether we would stay in Redding and drive into Lassen or try to find camping in Lassen. The weather decided if for us, it was forecast to be 106 in Redding, but in Lassen it was going to be in the 80s and lows in the 40s/50s! So this morning we got up and headed east on 44 to Lassen Volcanic National Park.
On the way in, Mom got a call - her Mom, my grandma, was having an issue that needed my moms attention. And we were driving out of cell phone range! Luckily we were able to get first come first served sites at Manzanita Lake (helps that we got here at 10:15!), the biggest and most developed of the NPS campgrounds, and right by the entrance. We got parked, paid, met the neighbors, the ate lunch. Mom set off in the car to find cell phone signal and Dad and hiked up to Crags Lake.
It was 4 miles round trip, through very different terrain. There were stands of lodgepole pine, but lots of downed trees and well as lots of burned trees. There wasn't a lot to look at and if it hadn't been cloudy the sun would have been brutal. We gained almost 1000 feet over the 2 miles and had a great view (and cell phone signal) from the top! Crags Lake however, has fallen victim to the drought and dried up!
After we got back to the parking area for that trail we walked over to the museum and picked up the Manzanita Lake trail that was 2 miles and went around the lake and back to the campground. From this trail we had excellent views of the major peaks in the park - Chaos Crags, Lassen, and others I don't know the names of. There were lots of people out kayaking on the lake too!
While we were walking around the lake the clouds that had been building all afternoon turned to storm clouds and it started thundering, then we got a gentle rain! We were almost all the way around the lake by this point and when we got back to the campground everything was pretty wet like it had rained harder here! The thunder and drizzle continued for another hour or so, then the sun came out again, but the air was cool and crisp!
After dinner we took Mom to go walk around Lily Pad Pond and Reflection Lake. It was supposed to be a 1 mile hike, but we looked at three different maps and got three different answers. We found the trail and followed it around through a scree field, left over from an avalanche 300 years ago, end around to a pond that was very overgrown with grass and lily pads, then around to reflection lake. It wasn't nearly as interesting as the hike around Manzinta Lake. We did drive over to where Manzinta Lake runs along the road and got out to walk a few feet to some of the better views of Lassen Peak so Mom could see them.